FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2019
Kristine Morabito, (716) 499-1902
Study aims to understand viability of state-of-the-art hops and barley integrated processing facility to boost local economy through job creation and support of local farmers, agriculture industry
DUNKIRK, NY –Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello and Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/CEO of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) announce that the Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation received funding approval on a plan for a new study that will investigate the feasibility of constructing a fully integrated grain processing facility in Chautauqua County. The plan and request for funding was reviewed and approved by the Chautauqua County Legislature at its meeting on March 27.
The Grow Chautauqua feasibility study is intended to comprehensively assess and analyze the region’s overall market, technical capabilities, financial support, and concept plan to determine the viability of siting a hops and barley processing plant in Chautauqua County. Planning for the effort began nearly one year ago through collaboration between the CCIDA and Grow Chautauqua developer Chris LaCorata, formerly of Fredonia and now based in South Carolina. LaCorata brings 35+ years of experience and expertise in the manufacturing and processing world to the project. A workgroup comprised of state, regional, and local stakeholders from relevant industries has also been engaged to work with Chris and advance the initiative.
“An innovative project of this nature is quite extraordinary,” said George Borrello, Chautauqua County Executive. “The opportunity to promote Chautauqua County agriculture, support farmers across the entire region, and create a new processing facility with year-round employment focused on grain-derived products is extremely unique and is certainly worthy of pursuit. We’re thrilled with the opportunity to proceed with the study, which will inform the development of the strategic business plan and cost estimates.”
“A project like Grow Chautauqua is borne in New York State’s DNA, and with the Farm Brewery license, producing hops and other brewing ingredients locally is becoming even more essential,” said Chris LaCorata, Grow Chautauqua developer. “There are a number of reasons why Chautauqua is the perfect setting for the facility, including the region’s recent influx of craft beer and spirits, its focus on agriculture and healthy food, and the benefits of low freight costs for statewide distribution.”
According to 2013 legislation set forth by Governor Andrew Cuomo, by 2024, no less than 90% of the hops and all other brewing ingredients must be grown New York State to obtain NYS Farm Brewery license. Chautauqua County could be positioned as the future east coast anchoring operations for brewery ingredients, and an e-commerce capable integrated supply chain for hops and barley derived products. In turn, the facility could provide an economic boost through the creation of new jobs and support of the local agriculture industry, including the potential to establish a co-operative operated by local farmers.
“This would be the first facility of its kind in the world, so the feasibility study will be rather extensive and will seek to identify the true merits of the proposed project,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/CEO of the County of Chautauqua. “That’s why we approached the Chautauqua County Legislature and the three area community foundations for financial support. We fully appreciate their participation in this important project, as its potential impact would be realized county and region-wide.”
The study for the first-of-its-kind project is estimated to cost $120,000. LaCorata has committed to covering $65,000 of the fee. To account for the remaining $55,000, the county, CCIDA, and several county community foundations including the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, and Gebbie Foundation have pledged overwhelming financial support for the project.
“We are pleased to see innovative and well-planned projects such as this project entering into the pipeline,” said Mark Odell, Chautauqua County Legislator and Chairman of its Planning and Economic Development Committee and CCIDA Board Member. “This could be a real game changer. It’s a great opportunity for the county, specifically farmers and the agribusiness sector, by providing new crop opportunities, a place to process them locally, and a method for distributing them widely.”
Tory Irgang, Executive Director at Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, commented on the project saying, “On behalf of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, we are proud to commit to investing in Grow Chautauqua.” Irgang continued, “The research will provide invaluable information and data about our local market as we continue to seek opportunities for economic and agricultural growth.”
The Grow Chautauqua feasibility study will be launched in 2019, with a market study conducted over a six-week period, and the full project expected to conclude by the 12-week mark.
The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, visit, and conduct business. The organization facilitates development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention for our businesses. For more information visit www.ccida.com.